Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 2000 NO. 6 > Jul 28 2000

Where a first-class city has amended its charter to create new officer positions, and the charter amendments provide that the initial special election to fill the new positions will occur in conjunction with the state primary and general election in an even-numbered year, RCW 29.13.020 permits the conduct of a city special election under these circumstances.

AGO 2002 NO. 7 > Nov 25 2002

1.  When the commissioners of public utility districts draw new commissioner districts after a decessional census, they must include in their plan all the territory within any city which did not, at the time the public utility district was organized, own or operate all of the utilities which a public utility district is authorized to furnish; it is immaterial whether such a city of such description was later incorporated.  2.  If the commissioner district boundaries submitted by a the board of a public utility district do not include all the territory of the public utility district in the districting plan, the public utility district board of commissioners has the authority, and the duty, to submit a new plan correcting this infirmity.

AGO 1996 NO. 12 > Jul 31 1996

1.  Under current Washington case law, a county auditor or similar recording officer has a ministerial duty to record a document purporting on its face to affect title to real estate located within the jurisdiction, if the document is presented for recording and the appropriate fee is tendered. 2.  “Non-statutory abatements" are not documents purporting to affect title to real property, and county officers have no duty to record such documents. 3.  A county auditor or similar officer lacks authority to decline to record a document presented for recording, and otherwise qualifying to be recorded, based on doubt that the entity purporting to record the document has been lawfully created or constituted. 4.  County auditors and recording officers have no duty to record documents purporting to establish "trusts;" such documents are not among those listed in statute as recordable. 5.  Conveyance of real estate to a "Massachusetts trust" or other "business trust"  does not affect the property tax liability for the real estate. 6.  Conveyance of real estate to a private trust, in which the grantors and their family members or other designees are among the beneficiaries of the trust, does not affect the property tax liability for the real estate. 7.  Where the owners of real estate transfer title to a trust or business organization without any change in the beneficial ownership of the property, the transfer is not a "sale" as defined in RCW 82.45.010 and is exempt from excise tax. 8.  A county auditor or similar officer is prohibited from recording real estate transfer documents until the County Treasurer has affixed a stamp reflecting either that the taxes have been paid or that none are due. 9.  A county treasurer or other officer has no authority to require that documents offered for recording be first submitted to the Prosecuting Attorney, the Department of Revenue, or the Attorney General's Office for review and comment, except that a county officer has a reasonable time to consult with the Prosecuting Attorney for advice concerning his or her duties.

AGO 1955 NO. 18 > Feb 2 1955

A county auditor is under no duty, as such, to make in the general index to record a marginal notation on a previously recorded real estate contract indicating the name, volume and page of an assignment of such contract.

AGO 1959 NO. 65 > Sep 11 1959

Section 6, chapter 263, Laws of 1959, prescribing the fees to be collected by the county auditors for their official services does not supersede § 1, chapter 250, Laws of 1955, which prescribes the fee the auditor should receive for filing and indexing internal revenue tax lien notices and certificates of discharge.

AGO 1959 NO. 67 > Sep 17 1959

(1) The general indexes required to be kept by the county auditor by RCW 65.04.050 may be kept by a card file system rather than in large well bound books.  (2) The county auditor is legally authorized to use microfilm and/or microcard system of recording certain instruments.

AGO 1964 NO. 104 > May 21 1964

Drainage district commissioners may not issue warrants independently of the county auditor's office.  The commissioners authorize the issuance of warrants but the mechanical procedure of issuance must be performed by the county auditor.

AGO 1958 NO. 172 > Mar 14 1958

The county auditor is authorized, but is not required, to make payroll deductions for group accident and health insurance when the group is composed of less than 25 employees of the same school district.

AGO 1954 NO. 272 > Jun 15 1954

The county auditor is under no duty‑-that is, cannot be compelled by mandamus‑- to file an instrument not executed in accordance with statutory requirements, including purported copies of validly executed instruments.  He may be liable for damage resulting from refusal to file properly executed instruments.  He may file any instrument even though defectively executed, without liability, but should warn person filing of the defect.

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